Medic convicted in 2006 rape of German teenager
June 29, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany — A V Corps medic was convicted Friday of the 2006 rape of a German teen he met at a disco and an indecent act for being filmed in homemade pornographic videos.
Staff Sgt. Ivan Goings was sentenced to five years in prison, given a dishonorable discharge, reduced in rank to E-1 and ordered to forfeit pay and allowances by the military judge who decided the case, Col. Gregg Marchessault.
Goings, 38, who in his six years as a Heidelberg Hospital medic once worked at the Family Practice clinic, wept audibly as the verdict was read. Before sentencing, he told the judge, "I ask that you consider my 20 years of outstanding service and allow me an honorable discharge."
Goings was acquitted of several other felonies, including the 2005 rape of a then-21-year-old Army private being medically chaptered out because of mental health issues, although DNA evidence showed he had had sexual intercourse with her. He was acquitted of drugging the private; a similar charge that he had drugged the German woman was dismissed during the trial for lack of evidence.
Goings was acquitted of two charges of indecent acts related to his filming other people having sex in his home. Prosecutors had argued those acts were service-discrediting and prejudicial to good order and discipline, but the defense argued that such a finding would require proof that people knew Goings was a military member or that other soldiers knew of the tapes.
The split verdict came after four days of testimony from the two women accusers, German and U.S. police, and a variety of counselors, pharmacists and physicians. Goings did not testify.
Marchessault did not explain his decisions but they seemed to steer a middle path between the prosecution’s theory of the case and the defense view.
Prosecutors argued that Goings was a sexual predator who, along with a buddy named "Will" who was never charged, took turns raping drunk young women they met at discos after first slipping them drugs that virtually knocked them senseless.
The defense, on the other hand, said Goings was a good soldier, a nice "happy-go-lucky" guy, and innocent of all charges. After DNA evidence was introduced, defense attorney David Court conceded that Goings had intercourse with the private but argued that it had either been consensual or that his client had reasonably thought it was.
The defense also brought in two young German women, including a college student studying to be a teacher, to testify that Goings was respectful toward women and had been very kind to them.
Goings’ accusers told of a different experience, however.
The private, who had recently returned to Mannheim after being hospitalized for suicidal gestures, said she left a disco with Goings in October 2005, after Goings told her he was a doctor. She said she’d drunk perhaps 10 Red Bull and vodkas, and that Goings gave her three pills at his house, along with some "Kool-Aid."
She said she faded in and out of consciousness and was too incapacitated to resist when Goings and Will — reportedly an American contractor who left quickly for the U.S. — began touching her. After Goings dropped her off at her barracks the next day, she called a sergeant, crying and shaky, the sergeant testified, and said she’d been raped. She kept repeating "I’m so stupid," according to her sergeant.
That case languished for a year or so until an agent with the Criminal Investigation Command decided to reinvestigate. About the same time, the German woman went to police to tell her story — or what she could remember of it.
She had been at a Heidelberg disco in August 2006 with her mother and sister, all with numerous happy hour-priced drinks on their table. She said she awoke the next day with vaginal pain and almost no memory of what had occurred the night before.
When she asked around, she said, she was told that Goings had sex with her. When she confronted Goings, he denied having spiked her drink, admitted to the sex, said Will had had sex with her as well, and that she had wanted the contact. She testified that Goings told her he was a doctor and would never force a woman to have sex, and that if she told police she would ruin his career.
When the German woman’s case became known, the two cases moved forward through the U.S. military legal system. Goings had also been charged with the rape of a third woman, who refused to testify and whose case subsequently was dropped.
Lab tests turned up no traces of the usual "date-rape" drugs in either woman’s case. But prosecutors went forward with those charges, arguing that such drugs disappear from blood and urine within a few hours.
The German woman told the court that the rape had left her frightened and diminished.
"I always have stomach pains and headaches and nightmares," she said through an interpreter. "I have to take medication to sleep. A lot of people — I can’t look them in the eyes like I used to."